Lessons From The General Election (GE) 2015

Political leadership and party can determine the success or failure of a nation.

They can change lives for better or for worst and shape the landscape of the community and society.

To help improve performance and results, political leaders and their team should adhere to 7 basic principles.

These principles can also be used to diagnose the results of the GE 2015 and draw lessons from it.

1. Envision – Step up with a worthwhile cause.

The first critical success factor to win an election is to have a worthwhile cause, a vision that is worth fighting and living for.

The vision must be so compelling that it will move voters to support the vision and put in the effort to turn it into a reality.

The rationale is simple.

If voters do not know what a party believes in and where it is going, they will never vote for and support the party.

In this regard, it was not surprising that the top two winners in GE 2015 were the PAP and WP. They have done a good job in articulating their vision and motivating their activists.

Between the two, the WP won a lesser number of popular votes than in GE 2011
probably because there were lingering doubts about the way it manages the AHPETC issues and whether it can fulfill its role effectively as opposition members in the Parliament.

It bodes well to remember that a party must not only have a worthwhile vision, it must also gain the confidence of the voters. It must demonstrate its sincerity and commitment to serve the people by, for example, actively contributing to the constituency and country in between general elections.

2. Exemplify – Show the right conduct.

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Effective candidates need to show the way.

They should be the kind of a leader that they themselves would want to follow and that others would want to follow too.

In addition, they should be the leader that they want their activists to emulate and one that commands the trust of the voters.

As they say, the best way to be trusted is to earn it. And the best way to earn it is to walk the talk.

SDP’s chief Chee Soon Juan and his team have put together a comprehensive manifesto. He delivered some of the best speeches during the campaign.

Even though Chee had a good makeover of his image, there were concerns about whether he has truly changed and that he will not repeat his past mistakes. His character could have been in question and might have prevented his team and party from gaining more votes.

It is imperative that leaders need to say what they will do and do what they said they would do. It will help them win the hearts and minds of the electorate.

3. Enroll: Soar with a champion team.

An effective party needs to select the
the right candidate with the right talent to carry out their roles and responsibilities properly. Its candidates should know how to work well as a team in order to achieve the desired results.

Merely recruiting a member into the party does not mean that the person has been enrolled into supporting the cause of the party and that he or she has the appropriate passion to fulfill the vision and fight for the party or the country on a protracted basis.

In the lead up to GE 2015, some of the parties are plaque with unnecessary resignation, jumping of ship to other parties, and internal squabbling. These issues could have eroded the confidence of many voters and cause them to avoid taking a flight of risk to vote for the opposition.

4. Entrench: Shape the organisational culture.

A political party needs to set a high standard of ethos, morality, and conscience. Without such a standard, the activists and voters will lose faith in the party and the candidates.

The party needs to constantly forge an empowering culture to help support the shared vision. It needs to develop effective structure, system, and process to support the leaders and activists to run farther and faster in the right direction.

To achieve credible results, the organizational culture should be undergirded by a passion for the cause, positive relationships, effective systems, and competence to cooperate, collaborate, and co-create policies and solutions for the party and the country.

5. Empower: Strengthen the leaders to make positive changes.

The model for a party’s sustainable growth
is based on a “Leader build leaders who will continue to build more and better leaders” framework.

Political leaders need to lead the way in strengthening their commitment, character, competence, and compassion. At the same time, they need to continue to recruit better quality of activists and develop them to become effective leaders.

The cycle of leadership development should continue until it takes on a healthy and sustainable life by itself, resulting in ongoing and better improvements.

The success and failure of a political campaign is dependent on the candidates as much as it is dependent on the foot soldiers that are fighting for the candidates.

In this regard, the PAP has an upper hand as many of their activists have been well trained over the years and have honed their performance and teamwork through organizing political and grassroots activities.

A key downside of the PAP’s activists is that many of them are going on in age. Just as the PAP is developing its fourth generation of Members of Parliament, it needs to renew the base of activists and ensure a smooth transfer of leadership and power to the next generation of activists.

In the same way, opposition parties should also groom future leaders and ensure that their battle for a better Singapore continues into the future. At this point, there are hardly any details on how they plan to implement an effective succession plan.

6. Encourage: Shine with compassion, care and concern

Effective leaders have a servant’s heart. They live to serve and not to be served.

Whatever they do, they don’t do it to satisfy their ego or for a self-serving interest.

They serve with humility, and value others above themselves. They seek to not only meet the people’s needs but to also help relieve their struggles and sorrows.

At the core of their operating principles are the values of service, compassion, and proactive initiatives.

Great leaders such as Lee Kuan Yew, Nelson Mandela, and Mahatma Gandhi have demonstrated the values of these qualities. They have shown that the best politics is a politics of service.

In living up to these values, they left a positive legacy that will last for years to come.

Leaders who lead and serve their people with love and wisdom can facilitate the growth of the country to achieve greatness.

On the other hand, leaders who don’t have a heart to love and serve their people should not deserve and qualify to be a leader. Their toxic leadership can bring destruction to the country.

7. Excel: Stretch for a higher calling.

There is great wisdom in the adage that what has worked in the past may not work in the future. If you keep traveling on the same road, you will reach the same destination.

The downside of democracy is the tendency for political parties to hold on to their dogma and doctrine. They fight for deep-seated ideas and ideology and in doing so, they may miss the forest from the trees, and produce less than desirable results.

I’m happy that in the process of nation building, we have developed a political system that is unique and relevant to our country.

This process of pragmatic democracy has helped us to chart new pathways and achieve quantum leaps of growth within less than a generation.

Looking forward, I trust that the government, backed by a strong mandate will continue to make brave decisions to improve our capacity, ability and agility to redesign Singapore. It will develop radical breakthroughs to help us capitalise on new opportunities in the fast-changing global landscape.

Just as importantly, the government will never back away from dispensing bitter medicine if it helps Singaporeans to strengthen our unity, performance and results.

It will continue to inspire us to join hands together to craft and ensure the miracle that we called the Singapore story will be even stronger for the next 50 years and more.

The above 7 basic principles of leadership and teamwork are imperatives to achieving personal success.

These principles are by no means the easiest to implement but if they are effectively implemented, it can help a leader to develop an organization of excellence, an organization that is built to shine and designed to last.


I hope this message will find a place in your heart.

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

Please ‘Like’ me on https://m.facebook.com/patrickliewsg

Visit my Inspiration blog at https://liewinspiration.wordpress.com/

For my opinions on social affairs, please visit my Transformation blog at http://hsrpatrickliew.wordpress.com/

Please visit my website, http://www.patrickliew.net

Please read my reflections and continue to teach me.

Life is FUNtastic!


About Patrick Liew
About Patrick Liew Patrick Liew MBA, MSc, BSc is the Managing Partner of Global Enterprise Exchange Pte. Ltd.. He is also the founder and director of Success Resources, arguably the world’s largest personal development seminar organiser and a major shareholder of a company, which is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. He was previously the Executive Chairman and CEO of HSR Global Ltd., a publicly listed company on SGX-ST. Previously, he was the regional director of the Gartner Group, providing strategic advisory and planning services to governments, banks and MNCs. He was also the regional head of sales and marketing operation for Dow Jones Telerate. Patrick graduated with a BSc in Estate Management from Heriot Watt University, an MSc with emphasis in global business and marketing from The City University Of New York, and an MBA from Henley Business School / Brunel University. He has also earned more than nine other professional qualifications. Patrick is arguably the first person to develop a multimedia e-learning programme on entrepreneurship. He authored a Chinese book on business systems and was also the co-author of a Times Bookshop best-selling book. Patrick has conducted both ‘brick and mortar’ and online lessons for participants from more than 60 countries. He has also conducted keynote presentations in many international conferences, including being the first Singaporean to teach at the National Association of Realtors. Through his team at Success Resources, Patrick has organised educational conferences for prominent leaders such as President Bill Clinton, Prime Minister Tony Blair, Michael Porter, Richard Branson, Robert Kiyosaki, Donald Trump, and many other prominent leaders. Patrick provides leadership and advisory services to many professional and charity organisations. He is actively involved in supporting humanitarian, philanthropic and charity causes. He has organised three fund-raising events and in the process, help to set three national records in the Singapore Books Of Records. Patrick won the Entrepreneur Of the Year Award For Social Contribution, the Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Award, and six other business awards. Patrick believes the best way to live your life is to live your life for others. The more you reach out to bless other lives, the richer and better your life will become. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- A Personal Note to my Friends The articles that I post online; or what I term as Love Notes, are written with the purpose of inspiring readers to live at a higher plane in life. They are also meant to motivate those who are struggling in life and help them find handlers to overcome their conflicts and challenges. It is my ardent hope that we will form networks and alliances of like-minded people who will put to right many of the wrongs in our midst. Together, we will leverage on each other's resources and create a synergistic impact in making our world a better home. These articles are written as part of regular reflection about the vicissitudes of life. They are at best work in progress and at worst, grumblings, grouses, and gripings of a finite old man. I have deliberately decided NOT to delete many of the articles and pointers that I may not agree with or are outrightly wrong. This is to keep a record of how my personal ideas, beliefs, and values have evolved over time. In addition, I hope to encourage readers by letting them know that I also make mistakes and am struggling with many of the complexity and complication in life. As long as we hang on to hope and work on finding a solution, there will be light at the end of whatever tunnel we are in. I do not pretend to know everything or for that matter, anything of substance. In fact, the more I study, learn, and think about the vast wisdom and knowledge out there, the more I realised how little I know about life and the ways of life. Hence, I have always ended my article by asking readers to continue to teach me. For I, too, am a sojourner in the exploration of truth and the adventure of finding meaning, purpose, and significance for my existence. I am proud of and make no apology for being a Christian, albeit not the most exemplary one. I believe our Creator can lead and guide us to be the best that we can ever be. I bear full responsibility for the shortcoming and error in my life, including my words. The fault is entirely mine and not due to anyone else. Readers have and can exercise the power of choice. They can discard what will not work for them and adopt those that can propel them further and faster in the pursuit of better performance, outcomes, and fulfillment. If I have disappointed or hurt you in any way, form, or manner, I would like to apologise to you. Please do not hold them against me or whoever or whatever is related to me. There are much to pray about, learn, and do. And I'll work on them with a sense of urgency. I hold on to the belief that 'Anything worth doing is worth doing with passion and excellence'. I'll endeavour to live by it. Life is short. There's no dress rehearsal and neither can we turn back the clock to change the drama of life. Therefore, by the grace and power of our Creator, let's live a full life and live it to the fullest. May God bless you abundantly on the journey of life. Your online servant, Patrick Liew I hope this message will find a place in your heart. By the way, I have also recorded other reflections. Please 'Like' me on https://m.facebook.com/patrickliewsg Visit my Inspiration blog at https://liewinspiration.wordpress.com/ For my opinions on social affairs, please visit my Transformation blog at http://hsrpatrickliew.wordpress.com/ Please visit my website, http://www.patrickliew.net Please read my reflection and continue to teach me. Life is FUNtastic!

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